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U.S. Supreme Court

Darryl Paulson: The end of gerrymandering?

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The term gerrymandering was coined over 200 years ago. On March 26, 1812, the Boston Gazette first used the term in describing the redrawing of a Massachusetts state senate district. Gov. Elbridge Gerry, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, said the district resembled a salamander. Gerry’s name was linked to the last part of salamander, and the term gerrymandering was born.

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Rick Scott sets date for next Florida execution

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Gov. Rick Scott set the execution of Michael Lambrix, who’s been on Death Row for 33 years, for 6 p.m. Oct. 5, the Governor’s Office announced Friday.  

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Justices reject resentencing in 1976 murder

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In a case stemming from the 1976 strangulation of a 13-year-old girl, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that a Death Row inmate should receive a new sentencing hearing. The arguments by attorneys for inmate James Ernest Hitchcock were rooted in a major 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling and subsequent Florida decisions that have led to requiring unanimous jury recommendations before defendants can be sentenced to death.

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Florida set to resume executions after 18-month hiatus

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is set to resume executions after a hiatus of more than 18 months after the U.S. Supreme Court found Florida’s death sentencing procedure was flawed because it allowed judges to reach a different conclusion from juries. Scott rescheduled the execution of Mark Asay for Aug. 24. Asay was originally scheduled to be executed on March 17, 2016, for the 1987 murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell in Jacksonville. The execution was put on hold…

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Rick Scott, Aramis Ayala fight heads to state high court

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Does Florida’s governor have the power to take away a prosecutor’s case if he disagrees with a decision not to seek the death penalty? The state’s highest court will hear arguments Wednesday over that question in a legal fight between Gov. Rick Scott and State Attorney Aramis Ayala, whose district covers the Orlando area. Their fight began in March when Ayala, a Democrat, said her office would no longer seek the death penalty, explaining the process is costly, it’s not…

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Donald Trump travel ban partly reinstated; fall court arguments set

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The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of President Donald Trump’s ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect, a victory for Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency. The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation. In the meantime, the court said Monday that Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors…

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Darryl Paulson: Groveland — Florida’s legacy of hate

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On July 16, 1949, seventeen-year-old Norma Padgett claimed that her husband Willie was assaulted and she was raped by four black males near Groveland, Florida. Groveland is located in Lake County in central Florida. In July 1986, I co-authored the first scholarly article on the Groveland case in the Florida Historical Quarterly, along with historians David Colburn and Steven Lawson. It wasn’t until 2013, when Gilbert King‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Devil in the Grove, focused national attention on Groveland. The…

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